Starbucks, AT&T National Rollout Begins; Free WiFi Access Begins


Actually, I had an inkling of this before the press release rolled in just now — when the AT&T (NYSE: T) network took over as soon as my computer started looking for a network at the Starbucks where I’m working for a while this morning. Until today, the customary T-Mobile network still popped up first with an option to try AT&T if you had an existing broadband account. Now, there’s an AT&T splash screen with tiny print at the bottom warning “if you are not an AT&T Customer, please disconnect and reconnect to the tmobile SSID.” Took a while but finally got it switched.

AT&T Internet and WiFi customers will have free access starting May 1 at 7,000-plus locations across the U.S. (So far, this doesn’t apply to those of us with WiFi-enabled mobile devices with AT&T data plans. Memo to Randall Stephenson: Fix that, please, if you truly want AT&T to be viewed as a seamless offering.) Others will get access market by market throughout the year: “The experience will include a mix of free and paid connection options for both frequent and occasional Wi-Fi users and qualifying Starbucks customers. Once AT&T Wi-Fi service is available, customers will be able to shop and surf both Starbucks’ and AT&T’s respective home pages for products and services.”


Gary Rybold

I thought WiFi was already free. Every cafe and coffee shop that I've ever been to in the past year has free WiFi for all customers. It's free. It's that simple. Does Starbucks try and charge for WiFi or something? LOL!


Visit Starbucks and ATT's web pages? I sure hope it's more than that.

Dave Zatz

On one hand I agree, as a daily Starbucks customer with a card I'd like that free AT&T;service (when they flip the switch). On the other, my Starbucks is already too crowded. What will free WiFi do to the place? It's already made multiple nearby Paneras inhospitable… Hm.

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